Monday, July 5, 2010

Trip 42: Independence Day in the Loop, South Loop and River North

Date: July 4, 2010
Trip: 42
Landmarks Visited: 26
Landmarks To-Date: 127
Landmarks Remaining: 226

Blogger is not cooperating with me today. I had this blog entry partially complete, and lost all my text. At least I didn't lose the photos, since those are very time consuming to upload with Blogger.

My project definitely gets tougher from here. The Loop was the last major grouping of landmarks for me to visit. And I've already knocked off the ones the are close to my house and my old office. From here on I'll have to do more planning to stay on pace.

This trip was the first time that I became a part of someone else's project. At one point I sat down on a park bench to figure out where I should go next. A young woman asked if she could take my picture as part of an art project. Since I love art, of course I said yes. I hope to be hanging in the MoMA someday.

1. Medinah Temple

This building was built has an auditorium or theatre for the fraternal organization. Today it's a Bloomingdale's home store. And I have to give the company credit for a great job in preserving the building inside and out.

2. Michigan Avenue Bridge and Esplanade

I learned a new word with this landmark. According to Wikipedia, an esplanade is long, open level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. They became popular during the Victorian era at seaside resorts. Given the clothing of that era, I assume that it would have been difficult to walk directly on the beach itself.

Chicago has expanded its public access laws for the lakefront to the Chicago River, so at some point in the future the esplanade will run the entire length of the river in the Loop and River North.

The Michigan Avenue Bridge is an iconic Chicago landmark that is also built adjacent to the site of Fort Dearborn. One of the bridge towers is now part of a bridge and river museum. The museum is on my list of things to do when my brother Jeff visits.

3. Chapin and Gore building

This building is now used by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There is green space next door that is outdoor seating and the entrance to the Rhapsody restaurant which is also in the building.

4. Fisher Building

This building is all about the architectural details. There are repeating motifs of fish, salamanders and lizards.

5. Harris and Selwyn Theaters

These theatres are part of Chicago's famous Goodman Theatre.

6. Manhattan Building

I like that the building has both rounded and rectangular window bays. I wonder if the rounded bays originally had curved glass.

7. Marquette Building

Notice the relief sculptures above the doors.

8. Old Colony Building

This building and the Manhattan Building above are adjacent to each other, which makes for an attractive block. The fact that both buildings have rounded window bays makes the buildings, which are otherwise very different, complement each other nicely. I think in architecture that's call 'referential contextualism'.

9. Oliver Building

I don't know if the green trim color is original to the building or not, but I think it really makes the building stand-out. To me, that's its best feature.

10. Cable House

The Cable House is a beautiful mansion and carriage house in River North.

11. Nickerson House

The Nickerson House is in my opinion the ultimate Chicago-style mansion. The entire facade is gray stone. It has ornamentation, but is not ostentatious. I would describe it as stately. It is literally kitty corner to the Cable House, so you can imagine how exclusive this neighborhood was in its day.

The house is now a private museum--it's definitely on my list of places to see. Both to see the collection, which I think is primarily stained glass, and to see the interior of the building.

The John B. Murphy Memorial is not landmarked, but it is attached to the Nickerson House so I included a couple of photos here.

12. Courthouse Place

Courthouse Place is a very masculine building, that almost makes me think of a prison. The entire building is rough cut stone which is kind of unusual for Chicago.

13. Former Engine Company 42 Firehouse

You can see this old firehouse from the Brown Line on the L, and I've often wondered why it's sitting vacant. It's near Chicago's main gallery district in River North, so you'd think it would be converted into a gallery or a high-end restaurant. From what I could see looking in the window, it doesn't look like it's been used for anything much since the fire department moved a little east to a bigger and more modern station.

14. Monadnock Block

This building is architecturally important because it was one of the last highrises built using weight-bearing walls. It was built before the system of using steel skeletons with facade walls had been established. I attempted to show how thick the walls are at the base of the building in the photos.

This is a tile mosiac in the enterance way to the Monadnack.

15. Chicago Varnish Company Building

With its peaked roof and dormers, this building looks more residential than commercial to me. And the large stone accents on the brick facade seem almost playful.

Today the building is home to a Harry Carry restaurant.

16. New York Life Insurance Building

17. Roanoke Building and Tower

18. Chicago Building

19. Heyworth Building

20. Inland Steel Building

This is one of my favorite buildings in Chicago. It has the clean lines of modernism and the stainless steel facade is a nice tribute to its original steel company owner.

21. Majestic Building and Theater

This theater is a little far from the center of the theater district.

22. Dearborn Street Station

This building was a real surprise for me. I had never seen it before, and I wasn't even sure if it really was a train station since today it's far from any train tracks. I did a little research and it was a passenger station back in the day. It used to have a peaked roof until a fire in 1922. And the train shed in the back were the tracks once were was torn down in the '70's.

The building on the exterior at least has been beautifully preserved. It now has offices and retail. Dearborn deadends into the building so it's pretty striking when you're heading south on Dearborn.

23. Jeweler's Building

This building is part of Jeweler's Row, but I missed it when I was there on Trip 40.

24. Civic Opera Building

The opera building also includes an office building. Apparently the founder of the opera planned it so that the company would have a continuing source of income from office rents. There are photos here both from the street side and the river side.

25. Wigwam (Site of the Sauganash Hotel)

This site is most famous for being the location where Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president. Nothing is left of the original buildings, and today it's just an intersection. I couldn't even find the landmark marker, so I cheated and copied a photo from Wikipedia. I think it might have been over grown when I was there.

My photos are just of the intersection.

26. Pittsfield Building

1 comment:

  1. Holy shiz, you were a busy beaver that day! Engine 42 and the Harry Carry/Varnish are my favorites. I never thought to stand back from Carry's but the white piping around the building really punctuates its presence on the street.